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David Sisk: Recommended Books & Reading Habits

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Hey, Bobby here. Several months ago I wanted to get in shape and I started to look for a Personal Trainer in Cork, Ireland, where I live now. Looking all over the internet, asking around, I heard about David Sisk Fitness. It was the first time in my life when I heard of a boutique gym, basically a gym where you only go and train with a Personal Trainer (there’s no subscription to go and train on your own).

I found the business model interesting enough that, when I started The CEO Library, I asked David about the books he enjoyed. After all, besides the fitness business, David is also involved with the Wave Retreats and his company is also the exclusive distributor for Ireland for Bia Brazil, the sporting clothing line.

There’s one more reason I wanted to interview David: since I work in the tech/online industry, most of the people I know are involved in the same space. So the books they recommend are sometimes eerily similar. So I’d love to have people creating and building a brick and mortar business interviewed about the books they read, so I hope to kick a trend with David 🙂

Estimated reading time for this interview is 6 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series. I always admired the Roman army’s organisation, advances in strategy, technology of their war machines, etc. Also this series shows how great leaders can lead smaller units to victory through strategy, ability to adapt in situations, and better systems and communications, and training. Of course, the series also shows how material wealth and ego can make people soft mentally (and physically!) and cause the downfall of what was achieved.

Business: Mind Maps for Business, Tony Buzan. It’s an old one at this stage but being a more creative “ideas and images” person who looks at trends, psychology, human behaviour, and who gets bored by numbers quickly (even though part of my career was in the equities market) this was and is a great way to plan things easily for business.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell us about it?

Mind Maps for Business (above). It just made everything so much easier. You could clearly “map” everything that needed to be done from a small event to a new website to a new venture.


What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Psychology books from my first degree. All business is based on psychology. Even how numbers are interpreted are based on psychology. The whole stock market for example SHOULD be based on numbers but it is based on psychology.


What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

For those interested in the stock markets: G.C Selden’s 1912 (yes 1912!!) The Psychology of the Stock Market. Human emotions and thought processes remain the same. Greed and fear. Even though my business is in fitness and wellness most of the books are pretty awful and I haven’t been influenced by individuals in this sphere. I keep hearing younger trainers talking about bodybuilders and their online presence, videos, etc but that doesn’t interest me. No I haven’t watched Pumping Iron. There are some very good marketers to be sure such as Pat Rigsby and Ryan Lee who I have bought material from but no book per se has influenced this career.

On the nutrition side I would recommend all publications and certifications from Precision Nutrition.

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I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

Books. Paper. I used read nightly in bed to send me to sleep or on holidays to study business or relax but with an 18 month baby who wants to go to sleep after me and who wants to run around when on holidays I don’t get a chance to read. I still read articles on individual companies (but not books).

How do you make time for reading?

I scan read articles when I can get a chance.

Do you have a favorite place where you read or are you able to read just anywhere?

It used be in Croatia on holidays that would be my favourite place to read but now it’s the toilet at home (just kidding there is no time anywhere).

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

If it were study material – especially science – I would write notes on the margin as I go and highlight the most important parts.

How do you choose what books to read next?

Generally if I find a good author I will continue reading their material (I have read all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series novels about 10 times).

Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Book preferences are like taste in restaurants. One person’s gourmet experience is another person’s muck.

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